My parents recently embarked on a major renovation of their house on the beach. They went through a pretty long process of deciding on the architect and choosing design points. They also spent quite a bit of time deciding on a general contractor. This is their retirement home, so they were very particular with how they want everything to turn out.
I have a basement renovation as well as a new roof coming in the near future and I thought that a post about major work done on the home would be worthwhile.
I'll start with defining the scope of the work. It is super important to have an idea of what the entire job will look like when it is complete. For my roof, that is pretty simple. It has an old roof up there now. The endstate of the job will be a new roof and no remaining debris from the work. I live in Orlando now and I found a good contractor with a good reputation, Stratus Roofing, a roofing contractor in orlando. My parents have a place in Corpus Christi and they go with Roofing Corpus Christi for their work.
When it comes to residential roofing it really is important that you do your research on finding the right roofing contractor. Google is where everyone starts this process unless you already know of someone from family or a friend. I would take a good look at each roofing company's reviews on yelp, google, and angies list. Make sure they are licensed and insured as well. You should ask for their license number. You should also ask for recent examples of their work. Any good contractor will be proud of their recent work and readily be able to show your photos.
My basement project is a different story. I'll need to really draw up my idea for the endstate of that project. There will be a full bathroom, a bedroom, a living area, and I am contemplating a wet bar. The bar would require a bunch of additional plumbing to be roughed in prior to flooring and sheet rocking the walls. I plan on doing some of the finishing work myself so I'll need to make sure I communicate to my contractor(s) that I'll be doing baseboards and painting.
The big decision will be on whether or not to hire a general contractor or sub out the whole project myself. The advantage of a general contractor is that I don't have to worry about nearly as much. If I hire all of the subs, I'll need to schedule them in order and check the quality of their work. I'll also be responsible for the permits and inspections. I would save a little money though.
The key to managing all of these types of projects is to have a clear idea of what you'd like to see as an end result and what it will take to get there. This will save you many headaches and wasted time along the way.